**Posted in collaboration with Queensgate Centre**
How quickly are the Summer holidays passing us by? We are over 4 weeks in with back to school fast approaching us and I am in mixed minds as to whether this is a good or a bad thing?
I’ve loved having the kids home from school, no early morning starts and a more relaxed pace for us all, but as you’ll have read this week, I am struggling a little (quite a lot with actually managing to get work done while the kids are home), so a return to routine will be welcomed even if I will miss the kids, buy boy will the house be tidier and their will be food in the fridge when I want some!).
With only a few weeks of the holidays left it was time to look through the kids school bits and work out just what they need for the new school year, I seem to be lucky in that they both have school shoes which still fit them, mainly as I had to purchase new ones towards of the end of the last school year, and they’ve uniform to fit them going back, helped by the fact I ALWAYS buy a size larger than they need so it lasts.
What they did need was sports wear, trainers for PE, bags, socks and stationery etc so we headed off to the Queensgate Centre in Harlow, Essex today to see if I could kit them out all in one place.
Harlow is only a 20 minute drive from where we live and has lots of different shopping centres within close proximity, so should you need anything else it’s only a short drive away or a walk, bus journey away.
The Queensgate Centre has a huge free car parking area and has the following stores contained on this one site: Harveys/Bensons for Beds, Cineworld, Currys PC World, Mothercare, Hobbycraft, Next Home, Laura Ashley, Tapi carpets, Sports Direct, SCS, Decathlon, Home Sense, EE, Subway, Chiquito, Costa Coffee and Pizza Hut.
With Back to School in mind we headed off in search of what the stores had to offer.
Our first stop was Decathlon where we were able to find most of our needs for sports equipment/wear.
They were both in need of new waterproof coats as when they go back in September it is that strange in-between weather, not cold enough to need a winter coat but a shower is never far away.
We found lots to meet our needs from pack-a-macs which fold up really small and are contained within small bags which the kids could keep in their bags, to light weight jackets from as little as £5.99.
There were football boots in all colours and sizes, Harry has expressed an interest in signing up to the after school club this year so we will be needing those, as well as kits and socks for him, all of which can be found in store.
The kids were taken with the swimwear, not that they need for in school just yet but they will do come year 6 when lessons are compulsory (both Emmy and Harry do out of school swimming lessons and have done since they were 9 months old).
I also found some plain black trainers for £11.99 for Harry here which would be suitable for PE, or as School shoes. He isn’t getting on very well with plimsols for PE as they offer little support so these could be a great alternative or worn as school shoes which are allowed as they have to be plain black all over.
They of course tried to persuade me into buying them a canoe which here and Harry wanted a treadmill too.
Next we headed into Currys PC World for ink for the printer and more paper/photo paper – they have homework of writing about our Summer so we will be printing off pictures, they also had Office packages and internet security packages which is always needed if your kids will be using the internet soon for homework, gaming or if you are thinking of getting them their own laptops to save them using yours.
Emmy did keep trying to convince me she needed her own mobile phone while here, she tries this ALL the time but it isn’t happening any time soon but they do have power banks for us parents who need to ensure we are contactable when the kids are back to school.
Hobbycraft is always a favourite of ours, here you can get pretty notebooks, pens, pencils, sketch books and all the stationery you will need for back to school.
You’ll also be able to stock up on card, paper, glue etc for all the homework projects which are to come over the next year.
Sports Direct was our stop for plain black shorts for both children’s PE kit.
We also found some lovely new backpacks for them both which came with a free pencil case and they had some great lunchboxes here too.
And great valued stationery packs too – how fab is that calculator? No miss reading the numbers on that one.
Our final stop in this Back to School trip was Home Sense. Here they had a great selection of workbooks to aid handwriting, maths, spelling etc. priced at only £4.99.
They also had a huge selection of notebooks for all as well as pencil cases and some stationery kits too.
I absolutely loved these cute stools for kids and Emmy fell in love with an arm chair and wasn’t impressed when we didn’t add to our shopping list.
And of course, no shopping trip is complete without a special treat after so we headed to Pizza Hut as after all that shopping I had no intention of cooking. I recently took out a days travel insurance for under £2 with GoCompare so was eligible for their Meerkat Movies 241 and Meerkat meals 241 deals which I used to save money on our meal out.
Are you ready for the kids to go back to school yet?